How Smart are Monkeys in Economics?

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For thousands of years, scientists have made connections between the minds of humans and the minds of monkeys and chimpanzees. According to the Smithsonian Museum of Natural History, “between six and eight million years ago, humans shared a common ape ancestor with monkeys. Each species evolved differently from that same ancestor”. As such, a recent study found that the knowledge a primate has in certain subjects can be paralleled to that of a human; in this case, the economics department.

According to an experiment conducted by researchers at Lethridge University and Udayanna University, monkeys had “carried out unprecedented economic decision-making processes when they stole things and held them for ransom.” Rather than tossing them away, they held on to them until they were paid in food. Does this mean that monkeys understand the concept of money and business? The primates would even go so far as to steal items from tourists, expecting better quality food in return. Sometimes, the monkeys would even fight for an item, thus portraying the stiff competition that has overtaken America today.

According to the study, older monkeys stole items that were more valuable by humans. They were also more successful to be rewarded for it. This concept is another groundbreaking parallel between monkeys and humans as they share the trait “with age comes wisdom”. This robbing and bartering, accoring to the study “is an expression of cultural intelligence from the monkeys. These behaviors are socially learned and maintained across generations of monkeys for numerous decades.” It should also be noted that monkeys sought the most valuable items for bartering, such as wallets and even Iphones!

Upon the conclusion of the experiment, the author of the study Jean-Baptiste Leca dubbed the event “a fascinating look into these little robbers’ brains. It also reminds me of something a crime ring would do in a Netflix series. I would watch it”. Perhaps, someday in the future, we will have monkeys running our economics department!

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